Playing with fire: Paramedic smoking dismissals seem draconian
In drug dependency testing, employers often offer diversion programs for its staff to go through
By Art Hsieh
Like my fellow columnist Kelly's rant on the rule — written before these dismissals — I am troubled by the labor action taken against the line medics for having failed a nicotine blood test.
Not knowing all of the facts, but were they provided due process? Is there a danger to the public for the employees for using nicotine? Is there a similar rule for having trace ethanol or prescription drugs in a random drug test?
It's a bit difficult to pass full judgment. But, if the goal to have nonsmoking employees is to help reduce health care premiums, this is like trying to hit a nail on the head with a pile driver.
In drug dependency testing, employers often offer diversion programs for its staff to go through, before any further employment action is taken.
It would seem rather draconian to actually terminate an employee for a medical condition, without any assistance from the employer to help the employee overcome the dependency.
Perhaps the help was offered, and it didn't work out. It could be that the employees were provided due process in overcoming a problem that would keep them from being employed by the agency.
Lest there be no confusion, I hope that the staff can overcome a medical situation that truly endangers their health.
But to be terminated for the legal activity would seem to point to an unfair policy that has little to stand on.